Wednesday, June 27

I feel like such a redneck using a ShopVac to clean the pool.
But really, it's working! I got that ShopVac and I vacuumed the crud out of that pool (quite literally).

Tuesday, June 26

Monday, June 25

Songs in the Park

All weekend I kept thinking that I had something to blog about. It was like a nagging feeling but I could never quite put my finger on what it was that I could write about!
And then last night I finally remembered! I did something fun last week and remembered to take pictures!
I went to songs in the park with a whole bunch of awesome people! So I remembered at like eleven o' clock last night and I wanted to go right downstairs and do the post so I wouldn't forget again. Of course I couldn't do that, so I bode my time until the morning.
 Geoffrey was very much enjoying the music, so it was actually hard for Mom to get him out of La-La Land long enough to take a decent picture!
 Ashley and Lizbeth!!! <3
 Me and a bunch of my awesome friends!! And Henry too!!
 The beautiful clouds and such (taken by Lizbeth)
 All of the moms and some of the other kids
 Me and Jonah! He's so fun!! xD
Geoffrey and Joel discussing the matters of the world over popcorn. :)
It was a super fun night filled with lots of AWESOME music, and it was better cuz I got to share it with friends! <3

Thursday, June 21

Ooh, btw, post #250!!!
(mini celebration)

Wednesday, June 20

Thinking thoughtful thinks

So I have been thinking a lot of thoughtful thoughts lately.
In less than a month, I'll be leaving for music academy. I'm a little nervous because I've never been away from home for two whole weeks before, and it's so very far away (fifteen minutes from home, tops).
But more than the nervousness I'm feeling excitement! Geoff came home last year with wonderful tales of all the fun things he did and how awesome it was and I figure that if my brother the introvert can go and have a blast, I definitely can, being a fairly social person.
Plus, I met a couple kids who are going to music academy as well, and they were fully awesome, if a little crazy. (But I believe that all the best people are a little crazy. And I just found out that a certain entirely bonkers character from a Lewis Carroll story shares that opinion.)
I'll definitely be blogging more about my journey to music academy as the month progresses and my excitement becomes even more difficult to contain, but for now, I shall abandon that topic.
I've really been missing my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents this month too. I'm usually quite depressed in June because I have so much fun with everyone and it's over before we know it and there's a full year until the next time we see each other. (One year was the worst - we sang God Be With You Till We Meet Again and it was like soooo sad.)
But one day we were just driving and I was contemplating and I realized that when we get to Heaven, I'm not going to have to deal with goodbyes anymore! All of my friends and loved ones will all be there! We'll be together forever, literally. (I know some of you have just facepalmed and gone, "Great! Stuck with Meredith for eternity!") That thought just brought a huge grin to my face! :D
In conclusion, I may not be blogging a whole lot over the weekend, starting tomorrow, because we have a lot of stuff going on, mainly that the homeschool group has a used curriculum sale on Saturday and I'm helping with that on Friday and Saturday. I know you're probably thinking, "You haven't been blogging much lately anyways, we won't miss you." I know. And I apologize. I love you guys! :)

Monday, June 18

Some people love Glee, others are addicted to the Big Bang Theory.
But let me tell you, this is the show for me. I get so stressed out for my favorite competitors, it's almost insane.

Today I found out that they do inter-library loans in our library system. Essentially, I can get any book from any library in the state of Florida.
My day has been made.

Thursday, June 14

Banner Elk post #4

Sorry for missing a day. I was gallivanting around being sprayed by a fire truck instead of doing a blog post.
So Friday was the last day and we all decided that we had to live it to its fullest.
Unfortunately, my camera batteries were dead, so I don't have pictures. :(
We went on a hike around the lake again, but we took a different trail this time. We decided to skip the Christmas tree farm and take, Vanilla Trail. This trail goes right along the lake, it's kind of a scenic view, actually, and you're surrounded by trees. And then I think we lost the trail because we were right by the water and we had to hop tree branches and it was all getting quite life-threatening. Then some of my cousins started turning off up the hill to get up to higher ground. David, the one I decided never to doubt again, was forging ahead on our current path. Little did I know that we had actually left the trail and the other cousins were going back up to get on the trail. So I faithfully followed David until we came to this ridiculously thick patch of trees and I knew there was no way that we were getting through there, so I sheepishly turned back and joined the others on the trail. After we completed the Vanilla Trail, we had to hop down into the spillway of the dam (I think that's what it's called, that's what Cameron told me) and then climb up the other side. It was SOOO much fun! And then we got to go back to the swings! It was all quite enjoyable, and then we got to hike back around the lake again. So in all I ended up doing two full circuits around Wildcat Lake!
After that we spent a good bit of the rest of the day out on the lake! I'm going to keep the commentary to a minimum cuz otherwise I'll get all wishy washy and sad. :'(

 Betsy and Ben were chasing each other around. It was really fun to watch and listen to them! :)

 PJ had dropped his goggles somewhere off the shore and Uncle Paul was going to go try to get them, and he figured it would be easier to do so if he was swimming and not in a boat. Unfortunately, the water was kind of cold and Uncle Paul was a little hesitant to take the plunge. Finally he jumped in and after some whooping and hollering he swam over to look for the goggles. PJ definitely didn't just stumble upon the drama queen thing randomly; I'd say it's genetic.

 I was in a very depressed mood.

 Uncle Paul and PJ drew quite a crowd while trying to retrieve the goggles!
 The last day, PJ and the others finally started to be able to catch some fish! They got like five in one swipe one time!

 We were all starting to think that Shadow had died because we hadn't seen her at all all week and then in the middle of our baseball game on the last day, she showed up and made Jacob's day! She kind of messed up the baseball game though...

 Josiah, the latest cousin! :) (at least, I think he is, it might be Emily...)
 John David got to take out his own kayak! :)

 The view from one of my hideouts on the hill under the wooden cross. I was lying there reminiscing. And then I got up, and that was a big mistake. I'll tell you why in a bit.

 So I took this picture and then Aunt Rebecca caught me and she saw that I hadn't gone out in a boat at all yet that afternoon, and PJ was just bringing in a canoe and so she told him and me to go out, and I was cool with that! So I grabbed a couple life jackets and me and PJ started out.
And then came the fun, also known as Anna and Jacob in the paddleboat.
At first I thought they were just coming over to say hi or something, and then I saw the terrible, maniacal look on Jacob's face and I knew they were up to something much more malicious. I wasn't sure what to do and I thought my life was over right then and there. I was going to drown in four foot deep water because I freaked out. I gripped the sides of the canoe and started to hyperventilate. Jacob and Anna rammed us full on and I was like, "AAAAH!!!!!" until I realized that nothing had happened. They had pretty much just made our canoe wobble a lot! So we spent the next half hour being chased by Jacob and Anna, usually escaping because of our mad back-paddling skills and occasionally being broadsided. But that's cool, I was ready to get wet! Then it was time to go in and we hadn't tipped, which was kind of a bummer because after all that, PJ and I were SURE that we would end up in the water! So before we went in, we decided that we were going to tip the canoe. So we paddled out deep enough that we wouldn't hit our heads on the bottom (because we're obviously so very safety conscious) and then rocked back and forth, back and forth until that canoe tipped right over! It was super fun and I got super wet! :)
 PJ left his mark on the camp. :P
One of our traditions is that on the last night, the kids play with all these glow sticks. I've outgrown it by now, but I couldn't resist taking some pictures and sitting out there watching them for a while.
After we finished the cleaning part, me and some of my other cousins stayed up until like one o'clock just being crazy, and let me tell you, we got really crazy. We made total fools of ourselves and got it on video. Sooo...good memories. For sure. I just wish that I could take all of you there with me in person and show you everything, but hopefully you've gotten a little taste of Banner Elk!
Thus concludes my posts on BE. Now I have to actually seek out blogging material!

Tuesday, June 12

Banner Elk Post #3

I have been very much looking forward to the post about Thursday, and soon you'll see why!
On Thursday, Uncle Paul and Aunt Rebecca were the evil geniuses behind the Bunke Breakfast Bash (just came up with that name off the top of my head!). So they spent the morning making HUGE platters of Swedish pancakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, fruit, and all sorts of delectable breakfast munchies!
But making all that delicious food for thirty-nine people took quite a long time. And the delicious smells taunting us before chow time were just too much. 
Mom did a scavenger hunt with the little kids, which was definitely a learning experience. For example, we learned that pine straw and acorns are nowhere near as common in Banner Elk as they are in Pensacola!
Anyways, Betsy, Hannah, and Mary were the top 3, so they each got to pick a prize.
Betsy's prize was passed around to some and enjoyed by all.
Let's just say that we were all starting to get a bit...antsy.
 John David spent a good deal of his time in the lodge running around with his lightsaber, humming Star Wars songs to himself and looking very intense and awfully cute! He wanted to pose for a picture, so he stuck his plastic lightsaber right in my camera lens, and what happened was pretty cool! The flash lit up the end of the lightsaber so it looked like it was actually glowing! JD was pretty happy with that!
 We older cousins got a kick out of this, he was just so cute! He looked dead serious so we almost felt like we shouldn't be laughing, but we really couldn't help it!
 Here we are, sitting around doing nothing. We couldn't bear it any longer, so me and some of my cousins decided to hightail it up to the obstacle course!
Not everything that we did really built teamwork the way that we chose to do it, but it definitely was fun! And boredom busting, which was even better!
 I think it was just as much fun to watch the boys swinging as it was for them to swing! Some of them did a sort of Tarzan yell thing, and I think that all of them were pretty scared. It definitely would be an adrenaline rush!
 After all, going up that high with nothing between you and a hard landing on the ground but your monster grip on a rope is nothing if not a bit worrisome.
 Still, everyone made it away from that one safely!
This one is called the Whale Watch...I shouldn't think that's funny, but thanks to PJ and Jacob and their twisted sense of humor, it brings an ashamed chuckle to my lips. I'm pretty sure that they balanced it for like forty seconds. The next day I went with Audrey and  Brooke and got it balanced for a minute and five seconds and could have gone longer but I got bored. :P
 After that, we checked out the ten foot wall. That's actually what they called this obstacle officially. There's a sign that says "10' Wall". No points for creativity, but for other stuff like teamwork and exercise, POINTS!!!!
Jacob, David, and Jeremy working to get Geoff up there. Let's say that maybe we used different tactics to get Jeremy up there, also known as the stairs.

 The vertical Spider Web. The point is to get from one side to the other without touching the wires and ringing the bells. This one was interesting for sure! :)
After the obstacle course, we were going to go home the normal way, down a fairly boring trail through the woods, past the fire pit, down a gravel road. But David had the brilliant idea to cut through the Christmas tree farm, which I then discovered was right next to the obstacle course! (Like seriously RIGHT next to, there was a gate right there and directly outside was the farm!) I'm not sure if it was legal to cut through there, but we didn't get caught, so it's okay!
 This part was really easy, but it definitely didn't make one feel graceful because there were all kinds of ups and downs in the path so you were jerking around a lot.
 I thought that it would be a really simple trail and that we would just follow this path all the way up to the main road, then follow the road to the lodge. Of course I was wrong. David had other things in mind.
 After about ten minutes of walking on the path, David, our fearless leader, turned off into this elbow high grass. Just letting you know, there were also thorns all over the place, so we really felt like trailblazers. Around here we were all starting to question David's navigational skills and were considering our survival options.
And then came this sight and I decided never to doubt David again. He had turned off at exactly the right spot and we came out right behind the dam, and even missed all the trees. How he did it, I have no idea. He's just homeschooled that way! :)
 It was about at this point that I realized that we had to climb across these loose rocks at some point, and I started getting a bad feeling in my stomach. But there really wasn't anything else I could do, I couldn't really turn back! So I just took it slow and made it across without dying. Or falling. Although I do believe I nearly did both of those things a couple times. Then we had one last climb to the top of the dam, which was a piece of cake compared to what I had just done! I'm not sure how legal it was though, I kind of feel like it might have been against the law to climb on the dam.
 It was all definitely worth it to get a view of the other side of the lake! Normally I'm standing by that little boathouse taking pictures across to where I was standing for this picture. I can't wait to go back to this spot next year!
 Allison, the Lady of the Rocks. It makes me think of a figurehead on a ship!
 The not-so-newlyweds, Nathan and Diane were out canoeing and when they saw us they came over and said hi!
 I love the flower behind Jeremy's ear. It really just completes the ensemble, don't you think?
 Of course we couldn't resist swinging on the swings. I think this was one of the funnest things we did the whole week, honestly. I promise I did swing, I just had to take a picture of the others first!
 All of the girls who were courageous enough (or maybe stupid enough) to go along with the crazy boys on this suicide mission. Anna, me, and Allison.
 Ben, Geoff, Jeremy, David, and Jacob, the aforementioned crazy boys.
 Everyone except me and Anna crammed into the guardhouse outside the camp. After they hopped out, there was a whirlwind of dust and bugs.
After that, my camera batteries died and I didn't get new ones until Friday, so the whole rest of the day is chronicled only in our memories. It involved Swedish pancakes, canoeing, Ultimate Frisbee, more Swedish pancakes, and lots of fun.
And that was that!
Tune in next time for my post about our last day, which I'm sure will be full of all kinds of sad things and my eyes will NOT stay dry. :'(